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Old 08-10-2014, 08:20 PM   #1
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Defining a boats true "Value"

Just in case there are enough boating related items to debate I thought it would be interesting to get the forum's view on a boats "value" and how people define such and elusive term. As we continue our search for our next boat I'm finding myself exploring what is a true value boat versus possibly something that is well known, purchased without the regard to price and then discarded as a used up vacation. We are not that wealthy to fall into this category and for us every decision and dollar spent needs to be examined.

So last week I flew up to Seattle and took a boat out for a sea-trial. It was a picture perfect day with temperatures in the 80's and clear blue skies. Winds were dead calm resulting in less then favorable sea conditions for a real test run. I would love to spend a summer boating in this part of the country, but I digressing so lets get back on point. I selected this particular boat for a number of reasons including what I felt was a great "value". How I got to my value determination was based upon the following:

1. Passing the 90% rule - in summary the boat meets our needs related to how we actually plan to use the boat 90% of the time. To get to this point one must leave the dreaming phase of boat purchasing behind and focus on reality.
2. The cost of the boat is in proportion to its quality and reputation
3. Resale of the boat exceeds its competition. This is critical for us since for some reason we seem to keep having to buy new boats.
4. The company selling the boat has a proven track record of standing up behind its product

While the above may appear simple there is a lot that goes into each category but that's a discussion for another day. So, what do you consider value in your boat purchase?

John T.

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N4061 - Former Owner
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Old 08-10-2014, 09:31 PM   #2
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I'm a simple man.

Value in a boat works as follows:

1. You love the boat, and think it fills your needs.
2. You like it better than your money.

I don't finance toys which is what boats are. They are a depreciating asset with a ridiculous carrying cost. Simply, I had to like it better than my hard earned money. When the money comes out of your investments as opposed to a loan, only then will you have decided what the true value of a particular boat is.

That's how I see it anyway.

Ted
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Old 08-10-2014, 09:44 PM   #3
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So, what do you consider value in your boat purchase?

Bang for the buck. I'm cheap and our needs are few.

Value is a moving target chased like a rabbit through a forest. If I'm satisfied with the product placed before me, am willing to hand over my money I consider it a "good value". Others may disagree.

You don't lose money on boats you don't sell if they're otherwise fundamentally sound and you're actively using them. Boat money is play money, make sure it's fun.
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Old 08-10-2014, 09:49 PM   #4
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Do you get more joy out of using your boat than having that amount of money in the bank earning interest.
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Old 08-10-2014, 09:57 PM   #5
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Do you get more joy out of using your boat than having that amount of money in the bank earning interest.
Boats have been relatively cheap, and interest rates have been relatively low. Seems like a good time for buying a boat.
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Old 08-10-2014, 10:29 PM   #6
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I believe when you buy a boat, don't buy a name, buy a previous owner. If they have treated the boat like you would have treated it, then you will most likely be getting a good boat. Boats are not great money investments, however I have bought well taken care of boats, done the same, and not lost tons of money. The small amount I did lose, I marked up to cheap entertainment.
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Old 08-10-2014, 11:02 PM   #7
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Do you get more joy out of using your boat than having that amount of money in the bank earning interest.
Money depreciates (inflation) too, many times more than bank interest.
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Old 08-11-2014, 12:13 AM   #8
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Interesting question for sure, but my instinct suggests that applying reason or quantitative analysis to boat buying or boat ownership may not end well. When I tried the reasoned approach, it just kept me from buying a boat until I just admitted that nothing about it made sense and did it anyway. For the OP it may be different because he has sold past boats and can do the math on total cost of ownership from buying through upkeep and improvements less price when he sold divided by total hours of use/enjoyment and then try to judge value and predict the same on the next boat. I am pretty sure that is a number I do not want to know. Luckily, while I have bought three boats in my life, I never have sold one, so the math is not possible. The first, which was a small boat that I have done a lot of fishing, hunting, and screwing around in may be pretty affordable fun, but the second, an aluminum welded river jet sled, and the third (in the avatar) are going to be pretty depressing numbers in terms of cost per hour of fun. For me, best to not spend much time thinking about it and just enjoy the experiences as long as I can get by without the money I spend boating. The last boat is unique enough that I had to consider the money I paid for it gone the minute I bought it. Resale may or may not go well. Transaction costs are very high for these sorts of purchases anyway so some large hit is inevitable. Buying one we intended to own and use and enjoy for quite a while was one of the main goals.
The way I explain it goes like this: For thirty some years I had been prudent and reasonable, I took one day off to buy Klee Wyck. It is working out just fine.
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Old 08-11-2014, 06:40 AM   #9
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Money depreciates (inflation) too, many times more than bank interest.

Usually true , but with an added 12 T in US debt and another 6T in Fed reserve QE debt , our gov (and most of Euroland) is having a hard time getting inflation to 2% where the cruelest tax of all in not noticed by the sheeple.

My concept is always to view what the round trip will cost , before a purchase.

Round trip is cost to purchase , repair, and then sell. Zero would be grand!

Dockage , operating expenses and electric toys are not counted.
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Old 08-11-2014, 09:36 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Ronald View Post
I believe when you buy a boat, don't buy a name, buy a previous owner. If they have treated the boat like you would have treated it, then you will most likely be getting a good boat. Boats are not great money investments, however I have bought well taken care of boats, done the same, and not lost tons of money. The small amount I did lose, I marked up to cheap entertainment.
Very astute observation. Having just sold our wonderful Skinny Dippin', our price was quite a bit higher than other boats of the exact same brand (much to the dismay of a couple of brokers), but about right for other boats of different, and perhaps considered "more desirable makes of trawlers. However, having spent so much time, effort, and money with upkeep and upgrades, raised, what we considered to be the "value" of her. Therefore, we found a buyer who (we hope) saw that "value" and paid for it.

I have to agree. Value is what YOU think it is and not always what others (or a market analyst) may think it is. For boats, "market value" is broker double-talk. Sure, you can't ignore it, but real value is what a buyer sees and will plop down their money for.
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Old 08-11-2014, 11:07 AM   #11
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Many years back I created a spreadsheet to calculate the cash (and after-tax) monthly cost of houses, boats, and cars. Quite a few variables, including obvious ones like appreciation (always negative for the fun things!) and opportunity cost of the investment (has been higher, now close to zero), tax implications, et cetera. I have separate lines for maintenance and improvements (my most recently disposed of car was a Boxster with numerous upgrades, but there's not much I feel like doing with the two Lexus cars we have now). I also separate out usage - that's a completely different part of our budget.

Anyway, when I calculated that (round numbers) our house cost about $1.5k/mo net (somewhat higher cash with mortgage) compared to my boat at around $800/mo (net and cash close to the same), the recently departed Boxster at $250/mo (ditto), a contemplated $200k cabin in a place where we already own some land at around $500/mo, and a hypothetical new Porsche that I didn't actually plan out but might cost $1k/mo as a guess - all of this balanced against how much longer I will have to work to pay for these expenses - it quickly became clear which items were worth (to me) that trade off.
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Old 08-11-2014, 11:51 AM   #12
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I don't look at value in a boat as strictly monetary, though it is a part of it.

We find we have great value in our boat as a vacation home. As such, a trawler suits our use perfectly, as it has many of the amenities a waterfront condo would have, at a fraction of the cost. Plus, if we get tired of the view, we can move it.

As for your determination, I agree with #1 entirely. 90% of our use is daytrips or being a dock queen in our own slip. As such, comfort at the dock is important, so we have a wide cabin, a substantial cockpit, and since we're in Seattle for longer than just the summer, covered side decks. :-)

#2 & #3 sound like you are looking at the boat as an investment. It's difficult, IMO, to consider a boat an investment of any quality, and it would not be part of my criteria. I would just look for a boat you like that can be purchased at or just below current market rate.

#4 Is also not part of my criteria, in that I have never gone back to the original manufacturer for support on my vessels. That said, I have owned very common brands on purpose -- It's generally easy to find a part for a Catalina or a Bayliner. If it's a custom build, I would look very carefully at the systems installed and make sure they are common and that it's easy to find replacement parts.

I would add other criteria to the list that we consider "value":

#A: Fuel Economy. I'm not talking about the difference between 1.2GPH and 2.1GPH... I'm talking about the $600 fuel bill for the WEEKEND on my 28' Bayliner, vs the $300 fuel bill for my current trawler for the YEAR. It's changed how we look at going on boat trips.

#B: Creature Comforts. Well planned layout in the length we were looking for. A good heater. An autopilot. Radar. Easy access to machinery. These were the things I saw in our current boat that made the decision to switch easy.

#C: Market price. We purchased our boat for way below market, as it was a friend of a friend, and they didn't want to go through the process of listing it and what not. It was a win-win for both of us in the end. If I can find a similar deal, I'd do it again -- the trick is not to be on a timeframe at all. If the boat shows up for us tomorrow or in 4 years, we hope to be ready to jump at the opportunity.
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Old 08-11-2014, 06:49 PM   #13
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If I can find a similar deal, I'd do it again -- the trick is not to be on a timeframe at all. If the boat shows up for us tomorrow or in 4 years, we hope to be ready to jump at the opportunity.

No time frame at all and let the boat come to you... Excellent plan.

I kept trying to force the issue because my patience was wearing thin looking. Was also looking at boats about 10' longer than we bought.

While out chasing wild geese one weekend I stopped at a marina to get directions and saw "our" boat(yes it called out to me) sitting at the dock. 1 week later it was mine. No regrets.

Every time I leave it at the dock I look over my shoulder and think, "I can't wait to get back."
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Old 08-11-2014, 07:04 PM   #14
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ZERO or PRICELESS

Value is an interesting word. One definition is financial worth. If you try to look at a boat in a dollars and cents way it will never pass.

But if it's the boat's usefulness and the pleasure it brings to us, it's priceless. In many ways, it's what we live for, it's what we work all those years for, it's the fulfillment of a dream. It's worth every dollar we put in plus some.

One of my critique's of today's society is that we don't put enough value on happiness and pleasure. Not enough on family and friends. Too much on money. Well, money itself is what is truly valueless. Look at a dollar bill. Just a piece of paper. But it's value is what it gets you, what it allows you to do. Boats are what turn that money to true value.
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Old 08-11-2014, 07:04 PM   #15
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It isn't rational. So don't worry about it. Pleasure/return-on-investment can't be calculated until you've spent the money. If it wasn't worth it, you've wasted your money. It's as simple as that.
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Old 08-11-2014, 07:07 PM   #16
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ZERO or PRICELESS

One of my critique's of today's society is that we don't put enough value on happiness and pleasure. Not enough on family and friends. Too much on money. Well, money itself is what is truly valueless. Look at a dollar bill. Just a piece of paper. But it's value is what it gets you, what it allows you to do. Boats are what turn that money to true value.
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It isn't rational. So don't worry about it. Pleasure/return-on-investment can't be calculated until you've spent the money. If it wasn't worth it, you've wasted your money. It's as simple as that.
Yup...

and yup...
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Old 08-11-2014, 07:07 PM   #17
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Every time I leave it at the dock I look over my shoulder and think, "I can't wait to get back."
Lou asked me one time if I had ever left the boat because I wanted to leave. My answer was an unequivocal, "no". I actually feel more at home on my boat that anywhere else.
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Old 08-11-2014, 07:19 PM   #18
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Yeah, like when will the boatwork (routine maintenance: bottom treatment, engine maintenance, paint/rust work, yadda, yadda) be completed? Before the end of the month, hopefully.

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Old 08-11-2014, 07:26 PM   #19
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Lou asked me one time if I had ever left the boat because I wanted to leave. My answer was an unequivocal, "no". I actually feel more at home on my boat that anywhere else.
She was wise to ask the question.

Today I went down to the boat and rigged up my dinghy and then sailed around the harbour. When I left, I left it rigged and in the water, even though I have to fly out for work tomorrow. My wife thought I was silly for leaving it rigged, because I will have to go back down to my boat to put it away this evening.

Little does she know that I WANT to go back down to the boat this evening.

One day, she'll figure it out.
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Old 08-11-2014, 07:46 PM   #20
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She was wise to ask the question.

Today I went down to the boat and rigged up my dinghy and then sailed around the harbour. When I left, I left it rigged and in the water, even though I have to fly out for work tomorrow. My wife thought I was silly for leaving it rigged, because I will have to go back down to my boat to put it away this evening.

Little does she know that I WANT to go back down to the boat this evening.

One day, she'll figure it out.
Wifey B: Oh she knows.....just had to point it out for your reaction. Don't know how long you've been married but she may know you better than you know yourself....
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